Child-support evader denied lesser sentenceWESTMINSTER -- George...


Child-support evader denied lesser sentence

WESTMINSTER -- George C. Smith III, who was convicted of non-support of his children in April and sentenced to two years in state prison, failed to persuade Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. to reduce his time in jail.

"You wrote in a letter to me, 'I have been punished enough to realize the gravity of the situation and I wish never to set foot in a jail house again. If given the opportunity, I would assure you that I will abide by the law in all respects.' I really don't buy that, Mr. Smith," the judge said Wednesday as Smith asked for a modification of his sentence.

Smith, 33, was arrested by Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies at his Tampa, Fla., apartment in late January after a two-year attempt to find him. Before his extradition Feb. 9, Smith remained Carroll County's sole representative on the state's "most-wanted fathers" list, a compilation of men accused of being far behind in their child support payments.

He owed more than $13,000 in payments to his former wife in Westminster when he was arrested.

In a plea agreement, Smith allowed only the state's version of the facts to be read into the record at his April trial. He agreed to the arrangement in exchange for a two-year sentence and for freezing the amount of money he owes his former wife at $13,000.

Before an anonymous tip to the Carroll County Sheriff's Department alerted authorities to Smith's whereabouts, he had been elusive for years.

Homeowners bilked of more than $100,000

The amount of money believed to have been pilfered out of the bank accounts of four Hampstead condominium associations totals more than $103,000, the state's attorney said last week.

The amount missing is higher than prosecutors estimated last month, and could still grow larger as their investigation into Otis K. Comstock Sr. -- a Hampstead accountant and businessman -- continues.

After unfreezing the bank accounts held by the associations last Thursday, prosecutors said the amount of money returned to them totaled about $25,000.

The remaining $8,000 -- in accounts controlled by Mr. Comstock -- was kept frozen.

Investigators from the Mary land State Police and the state's attorney's office raided Mr. Comstock's offices July 24, seizing filing cabinets full of information.

They also froze the bank accounts -- 33 in all -- held by Mr. Comstock in 10 different names.

Investigators are focusing on savings accounts and certificates of deposit held in the accounts on behalf of the associations. State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman alleged that Mr. Comstock may have given associations fraudulent balance sheets to mask unauthorized transfers of money from association accounts to his own.

Mr. Hickman said last week that the investigation should take until about the end of the year. He did not say when -- or what --charges would be filed against Mr. Comstock. The businessman is said to be cooperating with investigators.

Wanted man forgoes his bail review


WESTMINSTER -- The 28-year-old man arrested in Taneytown Monday night after a 100-mph chase waived his right to a Circuit Court bail review Thursday.

Carl Eric Smithson, who is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center, is a suspect in 10 Carroll County burglaries as well as in auto theft cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Smithson, who has no fixed address, was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore Monday night after the car he was driving struck an embankment and overturned at Bear Run and Runneymede roads, police said.

Mr. Smithson was released from the trauma center Tuesday and taken to Westminster state police barracks, where he was placed under arrest.

He is being held without bond and faces extradition to New Jersey.

The four-mile chase began after a caller reported a suspicious car bearing New Jersey license plates. The car was stolen Aug. 5 in Allentown, Pa.

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